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Meeting Minutes – June 2014

Fremont Neighborhood Council – June 23, 2014


Board members present:  Toby Thaler, Norma Jones, Linda Clifton, Erik Pihl, Jim Engelhardt, Stephanie Pure, Judie Clarridge.


Stephanie opened the meeting and invited everyone to introduce themselves and share any announcements:

  • The City’s Comprehensive Plan was last updated in 2004 and a current update is underway.  There will be a meeting on Tuesday, June 24th, from 5:30 to 8 pm at Seattle Center to provide more information on the Plan and gather citizen input.
  • Seattle’s Night Out Against Crime will be Tuesday, August 5.
  • Fremont Street Fair was June 20 to 22.  Jim reported that he had heard complaints about the reduction in the number of music venues at the Fair and the $25 cost to attend the concerts.  Jessica Vets replied that the money was needed to help with the cost of putting on the Solstice Parade.

Fremont Library Update – Andy Bates, Supervising Librarian, Fremont Branch

Andy talked about programs and services at the Fremont Branch.  The summer reading program, Summer of Learning, emphasizes science, math, and technology as well as reading.  Other programs include Tech Talk, live poetry readings, and Story Time.  The Branch worked with the Fremont Historical Society in May on a display and has hosted presentations by local experts in dog training and bee keeping.  The passage of Library Levy in 2012 has provided the funding for increased hours of operation, programs, and services at the branch.

Project # 3017074, 3639 Linden Avenue N: “Pod” Style Project — Jerry Suder, Land Use Planner Supervisor; and Geoffrey Wentlandt, Department of Planning and Development, City of Seattle

The developer has purchased two lots and proposes to build an apartment building with 35 self-contained units (each has own bath and kitchen).  As such, it is not micro-housing. This area has been zoned for multi-family for over 20 years.  Not providing parking within the building is permitted because frequent transit service is presumed in Urban Villages.  Because zoning is Low Rise 2, there will be no Design Review Board.  DPD does consider the project’s height, bulk, and scale in relation to adjacent, single family structures.  There is an appeal process to the City Hearing Examiner if the neighbors do not agree with DPD’s decision on the project.

Residents close to the project expressed concern about the number of units because neither on-street parking nor transit service is adequate for the residents currently living in the area.  The FNC has requested that the developer provide a parking study (including the number of legal parking spaces within 800 feet of the project).  The results will be reviewed by DPD traffic planners.  There was discussion that the project should at least provide space for residents to be dropped off / picked up.   Linda said that DPD should also take into consideration the impact that other projects in the area will have on parking, such as the Parks Department’s plan to developTrollKnollParkto include a P-Patch garden.   She also questioned whether 9 bicycle spots were adequate for the building and noted thatFremonthad already reached the population projected for 2020.

DPD has been hearing concerns about available parking in conjunction with many projects. Toby said the thoroughness of DPD’s consideration of this project would be appreciated should neighbors decide to appeal the decision or raise the issue to the City Council.  He suggested that if the developer agreed to a voluntary design review, it would provide an opportunity to bring DPD, the developer, and neighbors to the table.

Sound Transit – Ballard Transit Expansion Study – Rachel Smith

The study, which considered 20 alignments for Ballard to Downtown light rail, gathered community input, and analyzed service and costs has been completed.  The 20 possible alignments have been narrowed to five; one only includesFremont.  There is no decision point at this time because Sound Transit has to seek authority to request voter approval for additional funding.  The study stays where it is for now.  There will be an opportunity for further comment as decisions are made for the next phase of light rail.

Update on Troll’s Knoll Park

A meeting was held on June 11th. The park will include City SDOT property on the east and west sides of the Troll.  The land under the Bridge where the Troll is located is owned by Washington State Department of Transportation and will not be part of the park. The Parks Department has reached an agreement with SDOT to design, construct, and maintain the park.  Cost of the Park is about $600K with $375K for construction.  The plan is to complete the design in 2014 and complete construction by the fall of 2015.

The focus of the project will be on the west side of the Troll.  Initial design shows a walkway, with switchbacks, from N. 36th up the slope to a meadow/lawn area and a 30-plot P-Patch.  Current soil will be replaced.  Invasive plants on both the west and east sides will be replaced with native plants.  Most/all of the existing trees will be kept. There will be irrigation, lighting, seating, and artwork.

Residents raised concerns about (1) the impact of the park and P-Patch on parking, and (2) building a P-Patch in such close proximity to pollution from vehicles crossing the AuroraBridge.  Everyone was invited to provide input on types of material to be used, artwork, etc.  There is a survey open regarding the project and there will be a second community meeting on July 16th.

Committee Reports:

LAND USE AND TRANSPORTATION:  Toby provided background on the boom and bust cycles inFremont’s history and on rezoning in the 1980s and neighborhood planning in the 1990s.  In 2010, there was another rezone but it was implemented from the top down.  Density limits were removed and there was no mitigation for lack of parking.  Lowrise 1 was automatically upzoned to Lowrise 2.  He recommends that the 3639Lindenproject be appealed.

Erik provided an update on the impact to local residents of the construction underway of the 140 unit apartment project at3635 Woodland Park Ave. N. There have been a significant number of temporary no parking permits issued inFremont’s RPZ, particularly in the 3600 block ofAlbion Place N.  Further, the construction project contractors have failed to obtain permits for use of the public right of way.  SDOT has provided no communication on construction work which would impact the community.

MOTION:  Linda moved that Erik draft a letter from the FNC to SDOT for review by the Board.  Toby seconded and the motion passed.

PEDESTRIAN SAFETY:  Stephanie reported that she has requested that greenery near the speed limit sign on N. 39th be removed.  The leaves and branches obscure the sign.

NORTH TRANSFER STATION SETTLEMENT:  Toby is arranging a meeting on July 2nd with the residents who were parties to the settlement agreement to discuss options for the $60K authorized by the City for use in public spaces.

CHASE BANK CANOPY:  Norma asked that Matt be contacted to see if he has an update regarding the installation of a canopy that was removed when Chase moved into the McKenzieBuildingat the southeast corner of Fremont Avenueand N. 34th.

Minutes:   Norma moved that the May minutes be approved as presented.  Linda seconded and the motion was passed.

The meeting was adjourned.  The next meeting will be Monday, July 28, 2014.

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